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Older, male workers are more confident that job prospects will improve under Trump administration
Job seekers are more afraid of a new generation of workers competing for jobs than they are of losing those jobs to automation, according to a recent survey.
Recruiting software company Jobvite's 2017 Job Seeker Nation Study measured the attitudes of 2,287 U.S. workers—both employed and unemployed—about future career opportunities and the job search experience.
Nearly 1 in 4 respondents said they felt at least slightly threatened by the emergence of Generation Z, with younger workers (18-22 years old) in particular more cautious of their generational peers. Only 15 percent of all respondents said they are concerned about their job being automated within five years; however, 30 percent of people in the tech industry said that they were concerned. Again, more younger workers (18-22 years old) are threatened by the prospect of automation than their older peers (21 percent versus 8 percent).
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"The economy is increasingly shifting toward skills-based work, which helps explain why the newest, and therefore most technically savvy, generation entering the workforce represents new competition for the better-paying jobs," said Matt Singer, vice president of marketing at Jobvite. "And with automation, while it's been on the radar for years, the survey showed that we're starting to see this fear decline. In 2016, 39 percent feared automation. Again, increasing demand for knowledge workers shifts the focus away from automation. Some tech-savvy jobs are starting to be automated, such as certain financial services and medical treatments. However, we have a long way to go before automation of knowledge work has a measurable impact."
The survey showed that workers in urban areas are more concerned their jobs will be automated in the next five years than those in rural areas (25 percent versus 14 percent). Unemployed job seekers were more fearful that automation would be a threat to them in the next five years, with 34 percent reporting concern, whereas 22 percent of employed people said the same. Unemployed job seekers also feel more threatened by Generation Z than employed workers (33 percent versus 22 percent).
Ten percent of respondents perceive immigrants as a threat to job opportunities, with higher levels of concern found among job seekers in the hospitality (20 percent), construction (27 percent) and mining (58 percent) sectors.
The Trump Effect?
Respondents were split over whether the election of President Donald Trump is better or worse for their job prospects, with 37 percent saying that prospects will be worse over the next four years due to the current presidential administration and 35 percent believing their prospects will be better.
Men were more confident than women about their job outlook under the Trump administration: 41 percent of males think job prospects will be better, while just 29 percent of females agree. More workers ages 55 and older (45 percent) also believe that job prospects will improve under Trump, compared with workers ages 18-22 (19 percent).
The study found that college graduates (42 percent) are more pessimistic about job prospects in the next four years than those without degrees (32 percent). But college grads are also more likely to have turned down a job offer than those without a degree (64 percent versus 54 percent).
"This really goes to show how divided the U.S. workforce is and where these different fault lines lie," Singer said. "In general, respondents surveyed were pretty even regarding job prospect pessimism and optimism over the next four years."
Other key findings include:
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